Sometimes, you just want to be your own boss. We all have that dream: hire your own employees, tell them what to do, have them build a mansion to lure victims into using a series of letter writing campaigns for the express purpose of dismembering them for sustenance… No? Just me?
MachiaVillain is a horror mansion management game from Wild Factor that places you in the shoes of a minion who’s fed up with their lot in life. They hate working for the boss, getting paid poorly and working in bad conditions. They apply to be their own boss and soon get approved for their own land on which to build their own spooky mansion. This is where you take over.
MachiaVillain begins with your hiring of three minions. You can choose from a host of different creatures, such as zombies, skeletons, psychos, etc. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses, like faster movement or a smaller appetite. Each individual creature also comes with their own set of skills. Some might be be better at writing letters than they are at building, whereas others might be better at chopping trees than they are at cooking. More creature types become available as you advance further into the game.
Your first task is to build a home office and put a writing desk in it, upon which you will write the letters that bring the victims in. The more letters you write in each ‘Ad Campaign’, the better victims you get. To get things going, you assign your minions jobs, such as building, cutting trees, chipping stone, cleaning, cooking, writing, etc. They’ll perform these jobs until they’re done or until you tell them to stop. This can be a little annoying if you’re waiting for victims, as you’ll have to keep hiding your minions until everything is in place.
Building a Dream
After you have your home office and have learned how to take care of victims, the game opens up a good deal and lets you learn as you play. As you handle your victims, your suspicion meter will rise. Give it time and it will go down, but let it get too high and the town will come investigating; at this point, it’s time to defend what you’ve built.
You essentially build your mansion by laying out walls, doors, and flooring, then your minions get to work building it. One of the gripes I have with MachiaVillain is how cumbersome it can be to construct your mansion. It’s a bit awkward to drag out the walls AND the floors. Your minions will also build things in the order you lay them out. This can lead to some frustration when you want to make a small change in the middle of the building process, but it’s easy enough to change it and lay out the structure again.
Another slight shortcoming is how the only way to get victims to the house was through writing letters. This process can be expedited a bit if you have your storage area near the home office, however. But it would have been a nice touch if victims would randomly walk by the house, or have alternative ways to lure them in.
MachiaVillain is quite a lot of fun and looks great. The art pops out at you, with imperfect shapes and a colorful palette. Cartoony vibes run through everything (like a bike with square tires), which strikes a nice dichotomy between the two extremes presented of macabre and whimsical.
The writing has a lot of humour in it, especially in the opening scenes in the waiting room. It \has a tinge of sarcasm and anyone who is a fan of Archer, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, or Rick and Morty will find familiarity in the writing of MachiaVillain.
There’s a lot to like and very little to dislike. It’s sure to find an audience across fans of many different genres. Whether you like base building, close combat battles, or are a master tactician, MachiaVillain will be a welcome addition to your library.